Prague Minos Guide

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19. - 20. století

Josef Zitek

Architect of the National Theater
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Zitek’s work was preordained by his prestigious studies at the polytechnic institute in Vienna and by his collaboration with the best architecture studios. In 1866 he won the competition to build the National Theater in Prague, a project that became the symbol of the Czech people’s emancipation endeavors in the 19th century. He managed to deal with and minimize the disadvantages of the confined and irregular building site. He elegantly incorporated the New-Renaissance theater within the surrounding urban context and he filled its art form with the pathos of National Romanticism.

After the fire that partially destroyed the theater in 1881, conflicts and personal aggressions coming from the submitters made him give up the reconstruction of the unachieved building in favor of his collaborator Josef Schulz. The disgusted Zitek abandoned his work on other projects and fully dedicated to the teaching of architecture at the technical institute in Prague. Some of his other major works are, apart from the National Theater, the Rudolfinum concert hall in Prague, the colonnade in the spa city Karlovy Vary, and the museum of Weimar in Germany.


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